The Change of Perspective programme at the University of Malaga has been focused on experiences of University-Industry Collaboration.
The University of Malaga is the coordinating partner of the European project SME Cluster Growth. During the years of development of the project the UMA team has conducted various training activities for different university profiles, students and academics, bringing them closer to the business reality. At the same time, UMA has also promoted collaboration in the region between SMEs in the technology sector, encouraging their growth and international orientation. In this sense, the university has served as a link between the two worlds, promoting initiatives that connect university and industry. Change of Perspectives is a great outcome of this co-creation.
There are projects that require part of the work to be done at the University and part of the work to be done at the collaborating company. With this criterion, we have identified nine University-Industry collaboration projects to monitor the exchange of experiences between academics and industry.
All projects are developed within the framework of the K-projects initiative supported by the Vice-Rectorate for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship of the University of Malaga. It is an annual initiative and any teacher/researcher of the University who wants to lead a multidisciplinary project integrating students from different areas and collaboration with external SMEs can apply to participate in this program.
The joint projects are developed during the year, with the following goals:
- Facilitate the collaboration between the university and the local innovative ecosystem.
- Build networks and relationships with experts.
- Generate an understanding of needs, determining what researchers and students can provide to the SMEs, and how the SMEs can engage with the research, teaching and projects participated by the university.
- Bring knowledge of business operations closer to university research groups in order to boost the detection of opportunities.
- Facilitate the access to diverse resources in the ecosystem.
- Expand the scope of UMA’s activities and its impact on the local ecosystem.
The results of the collaborative initiatives between academia and business are presented twice a year in demo days, which gather representatives from university research groups and SMEs.
During the demo days the progress is presented, feedback is provided for improvement and experiences are exchanged among the different groups, favouring networking. Within the demo day held on October 25 and led by Rafael Ventura, coordinator of the SME Cluster Growth project, a roundtable for the exchange of experiences between academia and SMEs is organised, to give greater visibility to the experiences of collaboration between universities and external entities.
Five representatives of external institutions participated in the session facilitated by Sofía Louise Martínez, UMA researcher of the project: Gabriela Giménez de la Riva, Coordinator of the Cultural Mediation Service at the Pompidou Center, Malaga; Daniel González González, President of the Fantasía Association in Lagunillas, Málaga; Francisco Lavado Rodríguez, Director of the Simulation and Automation Department of TDK Electronics Components S.A.U.; Mario Sierra Martín, CEO of the agency La Buhardilla del Marketing; Rafael Pérez Aguilar, Chief Engineer of Tecnobus.
The following outputs of the Change of Perspective session are highlighted:
- The projects are usually promoted by individuals with an intrinsic motivation and knowledge of both worlds (boundary spanners). In this sense, the University must not only promote a favourable context for the exchange of ideas, experiences and knowledge between the university and industry but also detect the profiles that are in this intersection, empower them and provide them with resources to lead these collaborative initiatives.
- External advice from institutions and SMEs is essential for the success of University-Industry projects.
- The development of collaborative projects with SMEs enhances the participation of academics in other events and programs, which in turn allows access to differential knowledge and a greater variety of resources.
- Collaborative projects with SMEs promote the generation of alliances with political institutions and other organizations of great value for the advancement of research, teaching and knowledge transfer.
- The knowledge acquired helps in the design of better training programs to improve the employability and entrepreneurship mindset of university students, as well as the continuous training of researchers and teachers.
- Collaboration between university and industry boosts the generation of reference models. The projects’ success enhances the partnership of other academics and SMEs.
- Through collaboration with academics, SMEs get access to qualified human capital that provides inspiration and innovative practices.
- Universities and SMEs must invest in the continuity of the projects over time, allowing them to improve and grow.
Change of Perspectives at UMA has allowed to deepen the relationships developed between the university and industry through the different K-projects, identifying the main outputs generated from the collaboration. This helps to acquire a better understanding of the real impact of the programs developed and facilitates and supports the implementation of improvements in future initiatives. Getting to know first-hand the perceptions of different actors, through debate and experience sharing, has been very enriching
Learn more about the SME Cluster Growth Change of Perspective programme here.